April 28, 2005
“It is clear that children who grow up under smoggy skies have greater health problems than those who breathe clean air,” said ARB Chairman, Barbara Riordan. “California has a longstanding record of adopting the world’s cleanest air quality standards and today’s action continues our leadership in protecting public health.”
The Children’s Environmental Health Protection Act, passed in 1999, requires the ARB, in consultation with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, to “review all existing health-based ambient air quality standards to determine whether these standards protect public health, including infants and children, with an adequate margin of safety.” As a result of that requirement, the ARB today adopted the new ozone standard.
Ozone, also known as urban smog, can affect human health in many ways including: itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughs, heightened asthma rates, cardiopulmonary cases and premature deaths. Research has also shown that ozone is associated with increased hospital visits, emergency room admissions, student and worker absences, activity restrictions and premature death. ARB research has shown that ozone is associated with new cases of asthma.
Children are a particularly vulnerable population because their increased exposure to ozone can affect lung function. ARB research has also shown that children spend more time outside, are more active and breathe at a higher rate relative to their size than do adults.
Photochemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) form unhealthy ground-level ozone. California’s geography and climate help with the creation of ozone because of its warm, sunny days and mountains that trap air pollution.
The new standards amount to new clean air goals for the state and set the state’s definition of healthy air. The standards will go into effect late this year or early next year, after going through California's review process for new regulations.
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The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.
The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our website at http://www.arb.ca.gov.
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